Rambles · Uncategorized

Orville, aka McFarlane mcfarlanes all over space.

So there were definitely people buzzing that, despite the trailers, Orville wasn’t supposed to be a comedy. Someone should probably have told McFarlane that because the first episode was very heavy in things I’ve always thought were supposed to be jokes in his other productions. Specifically all the body humor, like the blue head ejaculation, and spelling out things that were supposed to be funny.

Hint: The dog would’ve been funnier if you hadn’t spelled it out.

What I didn’t know going in was that Seth McFarlane was starring in Orville. Hey, I didn’t know what he looked like. Sue me. I never felt the urge to look up the creator of dumb comedy. The main reason I wanted to see Orville was to see if a spoof would possibly be more in tune with old Trek than the alternate timeline weirdness we’ve been getting. Not that it isn’t…interesting. It’s just not my thing.

Ok ok, so let’s be upfront here: I’m not a fan of McFarlane’s character. He’s almost a spoof of the spoof of Kirk and it doesn’t work for me…maybe because he verges on Archer territory? His highlight is the banter he has with the rest of the cast but past that I seriously do not care about him and I hope the show focuses primarily on the other characters because holy crap do I love those guys. They are the spoof I wanted. So let’s break them down a bit:

We have the TNG bridge with a more Original Series floorplan, a well-crafted and notably recognizably similar to TNG score, Anti-Data, the redhead reminds me of some kind of cross between Scotty and Tom Paris, the ship doctor could easily fit in the line up of Trek doctors, the super strong alien girl gives me some Tasha Yar vibes, and of course we have a Worf who pees once a year. And apparently is going to lay an egg. With his man mate. Which is a little cheating in a way on the LGBT rep because it’s a planet of only  men, but I am very curious to see if the spoof does it better than Star Trek did it. Let’s just say their episodes that touched on gay or trans topics were……lackluster. They were better than the planet of African stereotypes in TNG though, so there is that?

Of course, I’m also worried because McFarlane’s history with these things is probably worse than Star Trek’s. And…sometimes better in weird ways? It’s complicated.

(Also I just realized…there’s probably going to be some serious mpreg fanfics to come out of this. I mean, I’ve never seen a fandom where that doesn’t crop up in droves, but this one has an excuse that’s almost better than the time Tripp got pregnant because this alien species is a main character we’re going to see more than once. Tripp wins though because their species could change the anatomy of other species to knock them up.)

When the show started rolling, the first five or so minutes had me groaning that this was going to suuuuuuck. Did we really need an ejaculation joke in the first 60 seconds? Did we? Well, it’s a Seth McFarlane production so yeah, I imagine he probably was completely unable to help himself with that one. The show would have been stronger if it hadn’t taken the time to remind me that it’s a live-action Family Guy cousin.

Now: The adventure of the episode.

So the rapid-aging aspect of this is a pretty classic tale on Star Trek, which was used more than once at that. They did do something different with it, I’ll give it that. Instead of ‘what if our main cast became O: old people!’ they had a very fun ‘what if we grew a tree!’ twist. I liked that. That was fun. Aside from that, the bad guys kind of remind me the most of Enterprise, of all things. Not sure how I feel about that. Also kind of Romulan-esque, since they were more on the cunning side. I loved the ragtag feel of their little ship taking on the big enemy battleship. That’s…about the end of my feelings there.

Oh. I liked the Arbor Day joke better. It was the superior one liner by far. The other one was, well, very Family Guy. (It probably sounds like I hate Family Guy…I actually don’t, I just don’t want to watch a whole show that’s basically Family Guy but in space.)

Final thoughts:

I hope they don’t dip into standard McFarlane comedy too much. There were so many people saying it’s not supposed to be a comedy so I sincerely hope they don’t try for that because I’m sorry McFarlane but your comedy belongs in the midnight timeslot on Adult Swim. It’s pretty crappy and it’s only really interesting when drunk or high. I want to actually enjoy this show. And there’s clearly some great comedy weaved in between the dog balls and forehead ejaculation. The banter between the exes was great and I just can’t wait to see more of the rest of the crew. They were the kind of real humans that Star Trek is supposed to be too moral to have. (I don’t want Star Trek to delve into those types of people either. I like Star Trek trying to be morally better than we are now – it gives me hope that the future might not be the never-ending KKK/Nazi rally that seems to be the present.) I hope they stick to that and cut out all of the Family Guy-esque stuff. If I want to watch Family Guy humor I’ll put Family Guy on. Or maybe American Dad if I want to see America-obsessed Americans get ripped a new one. We don’t need more of that though.

I think this show might have a shot at similar longevity to those shows though, with all the good and ill that comes with that longevity. Or it could crash and burn and be absolutely destroyed like the third one I always forget exists. It’s pretty ok, which is how I feel about all of his other work. It’s something that will entertain me but it’s not something I’ll hold as a favorite. No…wait. I lied. There is one place where it beyond excels.

God those effects are nice.

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Red Leads…except when it doesn’t.

So there’s one thing that I tend to take for granted when I see a cast for characters: More likely than not, the one wearing red is going to be the ‘leader.’ Or at the very least the main character, like with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. We all know the red pants are in charge here. Blue is most likely the second in command (though also just as often the secret genius behind the red pants) and the third color, typically green, is…the other one. Whatever other personality they want to complete a group with will be the third. In Goofy’s case it’s being the main source of slapstick. Sometimes it’s the fat character, or the brawler.

Even if the group doesn’t necessarily have a lifestyle that requires one to be the main one. For example, in Alvin and the Chipmunks they’re supposed to be a trio, and in the cartoons all their actual performances were pretty equal, but Alvin is probably the only one most people can name (and even if you can name all three, well…that’s not really that special anymore after all those movies). He’s the biggest attention grabber so the stories tend to revolve around him even when the songs don’t, which makes him seem like the most important one, thus he is sort of the leader.

With the Duck Tales reboot there have been several discussions and anticipation videos having mentioned that the boys’ were essentially interchangeable, I started to wonder where I had gotten the idea that Huey was the leader of the trio. Even in older cartoons or otherwise non-Duck Tales shorts and movies that have featured them, they’re really pretty much the same. Huey isn’t like Alvin, he doesn’t demand more attention than the others. He isn’t like Blossom (of the Powerpuff Girls) who calls most of the shots. And yet all throughout childhood I just assumed he was in charge.

Because he was wearing red.

While I was thinking about this, I realized I knew more trios that didn’t follow a specific color scheme than I knew of ones who did. Even the Duck triplets weren’t always the red, blue, and green they are now. That good ol’ blue shirt used to be orange. And before that they all wore the same thing!

My trio list actually ended after four sets: The Duck triplets, of course, the chipmunks, the Powerpuff girls, and the fairies from Sleeping Beauty. In the latter three the red is either the most demanding or at least the most level headed and least ditzy. I also know that, like the boys, Flora was never actually noted as the leader of the fairies. She was just the most level headed of the three. As for the others, I know Alvin made it clear at least he considered himself the leader and I don’t remember if Blossom was ever outright called their leader or not. But she had the big bow and made all the decisions so leader she was.

The big thing is, though, aside from Sleeping Beauty, Duck Tales was the first of those shows that I saw, and I still assumed Huey was the one in charge.

This might possibly have something to do with the way we treat those colors in my culture. Red is an energetic color while blue and green are a pair of cool colors. Red is life, red is passion, red is doing and going and being. In cultures other from my own, red is the color of wealth, luck, and longevity.

Blue…blue is sadness. But also clear blue skies, so there is that. But blue isn’t usually the adventurer. And yet, that’s what Disney has gone with:

In rebooting Duck Tales, one of the biggest points of anticipation has been the new personalities of these three boys. On occasion (like during the TV Series, Quack Pack) they have had individual personalities, but these are brand new personalities. Louie in his green is the treasure seeker. Fitting. Huey definitely seems to be the responsible one in this set, a traditional ‘oldest’ position. Even if he’s only slightly older. And Dewey. He’s our go-getter now.

He isn’t a total leader but he’s definitely more of the Alvin of the group. If there can be one Alvin in a group of troublemakers. That is one thing they definitely have in common that has carried over from older iterations. Actually, the original Duck Tales trio were probably some of the most well behaved versions of the characters while these three look like they’re going to edge more towards the classic side. Not quite ‘light a firecracker under dad’ troublesome, but definitely ‘trick Uncle Donald so we can go on worldwide adventures’ trouble. That’s pretty much the whole underlying theme of the pilot. Screw the Disney life lesson at the end. It was all about tricking their uncle the whole way. That’s the main reason this show is happening.

For the record, yeah Dewey is my total favorite now. Which I feel is very unfair because he got the most screen time in the pilot. Like, it’s almost like Huey and Louie were background characters sometimes. They all pretty much were equal in previous iterations, although I do distinctly remember Dewey getting a ‘I’m gonna be my own duck’ plot in the original. Well he definitely got to be his own duck here. He took charge, not always in the smartest way but he completely took charge of situations. Actually, most of his taking charge was very much just jumping into things because he didn’t want to wait.

Given my predisposition to keep an eye out for the redshirts (in every show except the original Star Trek – hell even The Next Generation put the redshirts in charge), it was actually kind of weird.

Not quite as weird as the adult voices on ten year olds though, and if I can get used to that then I’m pretty sure I can get used to anything.

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Doodle Dump! (And some pictures of my cat.)

It’s been quite a while since I did a doodle update, but there was also a spell where I hated every doodle I made so I don’t really feel ok sharing them.

Right now I feel like I’ve gotten out of that slump and I am ready to show off the rest of the little bits and pieces I have made over the last month. As always it’s all Steven Universe. I will start with the completion of something I partially shared previously:

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I’d drawn this before the slump, but I hadn’t known how to finish it off and I hadn’t colored any of it for fear of ruining the whole thing. But as you can see I finished it off and got it all colored and it turned out pretty alright, all things considered. Basically, it’s a short where Sapphire teaches Ruby how to stay calm and in turn Ruby teaches Sapphire a little bit about fighting. Luckily for the Ice Queen, Ruby is a Fire Princess.

Here’s another one I was drawing at and finally finished. Well, kind of. I scrapped the latter pages because it wasn’t working, but the first page worked out so much better than I expected it to:

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This one is called ‘The Birth of Sardonyx,’ which is Pearl and Gernet’s fusion. I have this headcanon that Pearl was the first (besides Garnet, of course) to try fusion because she wanted to fuse with Rose. So Garnet taught her via fusing with her. There was supposed to be a whole bit after these where Rose finds them and they have to fight, but I cannot draw Sardonyx. at least, I can’t imagine what she’d have looked like during the war in a way that doesn’t make her look atrocious. Well, beyond atrocious. She looked like she was trying to literally eat everyone around her. It wasn’t ok. So I just kept the part that I liked and I’m ignoring the other part for now. I may re-visit later when I have a better handle on character design.

And now the definitely new stuff! Starting with the grainy one because it was so small. Also I posted all of these on the Amino group at one point but I forgot to save the pictures on my phone and I didn’t want to re-take them so some of them have the Amino stamp on them.

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It’s literally what it says. Ruby reforms and for the first time has her hair from the show.

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This is the one ‘re-imagining’ that turned out ok. It’s supposed to be Amethyst fresh out of the ground, and there wasn’t much that had to be imagined. I used the uniforms from the Famethyst and made her hair like it is now but short, like it was before she met Greg.

 

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So I saw someone question what a Garnet and Stevonnie fusion might look like and decided to give that a try. As we’ve established I’m not good at creating things without references but I also know I won’t get good if I don’t try so I tried. I’m actually pretty happy with her face since it kind of fits in well with Smoky Quartz, Steven’s other gem fusion, who has three arms. Since there’s two gems, one half gem/half human, and one human, I figure their fusion would be kind of weird. Anyway, when I shared my sketch someone told me to try coloring it. So I did that too using my old high school colored pencils. Those pencils were really smudgy and I couldn’t really get deep colors out of them no matter how hard I pressed, but I don’t think it’s too bad for my first try at using them in years.

And last but not least are the two that I’m actually most proud of, partly because I’m incredibly surprised they turned out really well considering all the experimenting I did with them (I had new pens, I tried using a mixture of different pens, and I was playing around with perspective in a way I really haven’t before):

 

 

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These are for, yes, a fanfiction I’ve been trying to write to get back in to my fictional writing groove. It’s not been going so well, though I did write an almost complete short asexual love story about two girls meeting at a club. Totally unrelated to this, but writing at this story helped me write that and that’s more fiction than I’ve written in almost two years so that is definitely something I’m proud of. I really actually can’t wait to finish this story just to have it finished.

(And yeah, Ruby is kind of odd looking in the second one. I know. Turns out the purple pen isn’t so good for making lines, it kind of bleeds after a while. The back of this paper is pretty pink at this point. Ruby looked a lot better when I first drew her and the ink hadn’t bled like that. But in good news I can safely say Bic makes surprisingly good drawing pens. That’s what almost all of my blue drawings are with.)

And now, because I promised, here are some pictures of my cat that I’ve taken since last we spoke of his super duper cuteness:

I recently had some bad news in my family and he’s been an absolute angel. Every night he’s been cuddling up with me to go to sleep and it’s really been helping me get through the nights. He also decided my new clothes hamper is the best playpen (seen above) until I got a new blanket from Sam’s Club and I swear if they want to sponsor me they can because that blanket is the softest most warm blanket – Ok, ok it’s their $15 Member’s Mark throw. I wound up getting a second one for my mom because I loved it so much. Anyway, I’m not the only one who loved this blanket. The first night I put it on my bed Conner spent an hour kneading it and purring louder than I’ve almost ever heard him purr. He never kneads anything that’s not me. I don’t know why but he insists on doing all his hard kneading right over my bladder. He loves the blanket so much he gave my bladder a break. He just always tends to curl up on it when I don’t have my camera handy so it’s been impossible to get cute shots of him.

 

And that is my August update!

Rambles

The Bold Type: Starting on Episode Two

Over my last few posts and definitely on Twitter I’ve been hinting at how down I’ve been feeling lately. There’s a lot of things that play into this – dissatisfaction with my current job (not hate mind you, I’m just not feeling satisfied), post college loneliness, and, most recently, some problems have come up with my family that I’m struggling to keep from destroying me. I don’t like feeling down. So I’ve started trying to do things that I wouldn’t normally do. I started going to a game group on meetups on Friday nights (best decision I’ve made in a long time). I joined the local library, as I mentioned in my last post, and checked out some books that were recommendations on recommendations on Goodreads. And I’ve been spending more time with my roommate.

My roommate who loves TV. I’d more or less given up on TV for the most part a couple years ago. Sure, I keep up with Modern Family. Yes, I’ve been watching How to Get Away With Murder. Other than that nothing has really caught my attention. Well, live action shows. My love for cartoons shines through my blog I’m sure. Live action, though, has just been so boring to me. Most nights we just end up watching Friends, and we’ve been planning what we’ll watch next. Until today. He didn’t feel like watching Friends, so he put on this show he’s been needing to catch up on.

The Bold Type…Episode 2. We rewound to the pilot after, but I technically started with episode 2. If you don’t start on the pilot, at this point you’ll be fine. And I completely recommend checking out this show.

Three girls in New York. Already a standard, right? They look my age but have to be making 2-3 times what I make and have much better positions than I feel allowed to dream of right now. Long story short I expected to feel bad about this show. Especially because five years ago I wanted what they have. I still wouldn’t be opposed to their current jobs. Especially Jane’s.

Don’t get me wrong – these are pretty, young people (mostly) who have unrealistically amazing lives. But they work really hard for what they have and are deeply invested in their work. It’s actually great seeing people living their dreams. In the third episode Sutton goes all in to get a job she wants. Dangerously, of course. But you know they are always telling us about how we have to take risks to get our dreams. I’m finally coming around to my ‘chase your dreams’ self again and while I haven’t had any fortune so far, these guys definitely give me something to hope for.

Top things I love:

Frank, open discussion on lesbianism. And questioning sexuality…as an adult.And sexuality in general. It definitely has been doing a better job than Sex and the City did. There’s definitely a Sex and the City-esque vibe at times too, though I suppose that’s unavoidable when one third of your main cast is all about her writing and she’s writing at a magazine that’s essentially Cosmo.

More things I love –

  • Adena. I love Adena. I want someone like Adena in my life.
  • As someone who loves looking at beautiful things I love the fashion in this show. A lot of the time it’s fine art on moving bodies.
  • There’s a lot of powerful women in this show. Women who look out for each other and help each other succeed. Women who aren’t getting into cat fights over boys. Women who are dreaming, hoping, and succeeding. Women who have relationships with men but whose story isn’t written by the men.

Some general comments:

Jane is kind of incredibly lucky. Her boss wants her to do well and is willing to put in the effort to help her do well. Going back to the pilot just reinforced this – Jane is a new writer and is falling short, so boss lady pulls her for a meeting to get her to break out of her need to please. Or, well, to find out if she’s going to be a risk taker or a safe writer. And then keeps encouraging her through the following episodes. And her boss doesn’t care that she and her friends are hanging out in the fashion closet after work. Seriously. Jane. I want your job. Please. Please tell me your secrets. (Don’t get me wrong, I love my boss. She does root for us too, she just doesn’t have the leeway that Jacqueline does since she’s not top boss.)

Actually all of them have great-looking jobs right now. I know these are TV jobs but they have so much freedom to go after things they’re passionate about – like chasing after the photographer. During the day. I assume during work hours.

But I’ve gone on and on about their jobs. There’s so many topics they’ve addressed in the first three episodes of this show that are things we’ve needed to have addressed. Some things, yes, have been poked at periodically already (such as sexuality), but there’s others that we don’t have addressed as often and certainly aren’t talked about in such a realistic way. Things like harassment on Twitter. Something tons of people go through – something most of those people are brushed off for having an issue with. Hint: The characters take this seriously. When a character is doxxed the show doesn’t tell her she’s just being sensitive and they give solid advice for her to get through it (and the show also quietly gives advice that’s not outright spoken – like blocking the trolls and engaging with the people who are supporting you). It probably helps that she has her company behind her. Most people don’t have that. A lot of people are on their own once these things happen.

…I really want their boss. Actually, let me add that now as an amendment to the jobs discussion above: Bosses all over this country need to study and learn from Jacqueline on what it means to be a good boss. Taking care of your employees doesn’t mean you’re pandering or that the work quality is going to suffer. It’s actually probably going to significantly improve because those employees will know they can rely on you and trust in you.

Ok. I swear. No more about their jobs. Let’s switch gears to something completely different.

It may be too soon to make judgement calls on the relationships in this show. So far it’s been a great look at various types. One girl has a great thing going on with one of her seniors – it’s dangerous and could ruin her but they seem to really care for each other. He encourages her to follow her dreams and keeps an ear out on other positions in the company as to how they’re going. When she asks for actual dates he asks her out on a date. I know something is bound to go wrong at some point but so far they’re beautiful.

The other two are a bit more exploratory. One is just starting a relationship, specifically with someone she was sure she didn’t like previously, and the other is the one that’s questioning her sexuality since someone in the first episode threw her for a loop. I am rooting for her. Even if they don’t get together as a couple their dynamics are amazing and so real to me. Granted I was in sixth grade when I got thrown for that loop, but I suppressed it and avoided the topic until I was an adult. Seeing a strong adult character questioning herself really kind of makes the kid in me feel good. It heals some old emotional injuries.

There’s a lot of sex ingrained in the plot. It’s not usually explicitly talked about and when it is it tends to come up in natural ways. Not that someone who’s a sex article writer wouldn’t have natural excuses to write sex columns…Sorry. Sex and the City was just so forced for me that watching any show try to talk about sex becomes a bit uncomfortable. Until this show. Being Fictional Cosmo, Scarlet is going to have sex talk and of these three episodes, only one has focused on that aspect as one of it’s three plots. That being the plot for the writer being given an assignment to write something about orgasms. I loved her take on it too, but I will let you watch that for yourself. Her other assignments were pitches she made, one being about dealing with exs and the other being a focus on a politician she admires.

They vary her tale. Though relationships and sex are an ongoing undercurrent for her. She starts out dealing with her ex and then flows into a relationship which is just starting up so far. Not so much sex but they do stumble on each other because she’s concerned about sex and says something awkward in an elevator riiiight when the doors open. Cliche, but still fun.

This story is girl-centric. No surprise. All the major characters are female. There’s a couple of supporting men and I did mention that two of the girls are in relationships with men. I’ve already mentioned it twice but it’s about a magazine that’s based on Cosmo, so lots of fashion and girl talk. Now I know boys can’t be boxed up in a one size-fits-all type of show but I also know that a lot of boys avoid girl shows like they avoid chick flicks. But unlike your average chick flick this girl show has substance that I really hope men will notice and watch and not pigeonhole themselves right out of this show. And for everyone else who’s already ok with these shows – give this one a chance. Watch it. So far this show feels so good and does so well with handling great subjects and from the looks of things it’s only going to get better.

Rambles

Reading. Post-School.

Aside from my hopes of going to graduate school, I’m pretty much done with school now. That’s an uncomfortable feeling for me on its own since school is all I’ve ever known. Literally. We throw toddlers at school and they don’t emerge until their 20s these days. If then. I mean, anyone in my age group is already familiar with the ‘ten years of experience or masters degree’ for supposedly entry level jobs problem.

I really don’t want to get into that mess though. Instead I’ll focus on another sad fact I’ve realized this year: Reading as an adult is super hard. When I was a kid I could blow through five to seven books a week. I don’t mean little kid books either – I was reading chapter books younger than the teachers seemed to be pushing them. Alongside the easy little books, of course. I was killer during reading contests at school.

Then, like so many avid readers, I followed the path of reading less for pleasure and more and more for classes. In high school it wasn’t really an issue. About the only book I didn’t like or find easy to understand was Catcher in the Rye. Get all your hate out now, I still don’t like that book. I recognize it’s great and you are welcome to like it. I don’t. Anyway, when books are easy there’s room to wiggle around and check out other stuff. Plus there was always a lot of down time because I was that nerdy kid that finished tests early. In college there was a fair bit less time and a lot more books that weren’t particularly easy. Plus there wasn’t exactly spare money to buy books. I mean there was a library but I definitely always had an excuse not to go.

I guess I just never had to go out of my way to really seek out books. They had always just been there. When we went shopping there were the books, and I could grab one and take it home. The school library was nestled right between my English, History, and Math classes. I didn’t have to go off my usual path to find a book. As soon as I was presented with a challenge I crumpled. Don’t get me wrong – I did find a lot of books during college that I loved. I still have a bunch of them on my shelves now. But I became even lazier about books.

It’s almost like I’ve forgotten how to find the good ones. I know I’ve become pickier, and I know a lot of the stuff I used to like doesn’t even catch my eye anymore. I also know that there’s a personal level of struggle. A full time job I don’t really like, a social life I have to really work for if I want to have anyone to talk to at all let alone find anyone to potentially date, all those darn adult responsibilities like grocery shopping and waiting at the DMV. Technically I guess there’s time at the DMV. If I have a book to read.

I bought a whole bunch of books last year, then promptly didn’t read them. Most of them proved to be a bit heavier than I could handle (such as stories dealing with depression). I still want to read them. But now still is not a good time for those kinds of books. Actually those books are probably an even worse idea now than they were last year.

So now I’ve been a bit stuck in a new place – hunting around for books that spark my interest, even remotely, and hoping that I’ll find it in myself to read them. Part of my tactic has been joining Goodreads and going back through books I used to like and trying to branch from there and hoping something will re-ignite. While I do remember why I loved them and can still appreciate those feelings, I think I’ve changed too much now Though there are a few books that came up as recommended on those which look promising. They just aren’t available at my local library. So I went to the next level of recommendations to find a few that were. These ones weren’t quite as intriguing but pickiness is part of the problem.

Writers need to read. They need to know their genre and they need to learn from the pool of other writers. What worked, what didn’t. What sparks the imagination and makes the reader hope for more. Writers are readers who took it to the next level.

I have checked out four books from my library. It gives me both some free reading material and a deadline to read them by (August 8th at this moment). Right now I’m finding it intensely difficult. It’s been five days and I’ve read a third of the first book. Most of that reading happened in the last 24 hours. This is a start. In between that reading I’ve also managed to do my job, write a little, go to a local game night meet-up (which I super recommend – meetups are great for finding things that are going on so you don’t have to put in the effort of planning something out yourself, especially when you feel completely drained), and dealing regularly with all the emotional baggage I’m dealing with but am not going to be sharing with the public. Oh, plus the exhaustion. So much exhaustion. Great for those days when you know you need to sleep but there’s not enough hours to get everything done.

The point I want to get at, I suppose, is that we need to keep trying to read. Make a stop at the library, find something that seems interesting, give it a try. Please also don’t get mad at yourself for being a busy adult. I played that role for several months there and there’s certainly a lot of shame that goes around the internet for aspiring writers who don’t read, but have a bit of sympathy for yourself. We, at least in America, are set up on an 8-8-8 schedule. 8 hours for work, 8 hours for ‘play’ (which includes lunch breaks at work as well as time commuting to and from work), and 8 hours for sleep. Plus two days off on the weekend if we’re fortunate. In between all that we still have to take care of our basic needs as well as spend a bunch of time preparing food – if we’re trying to be healthy that is – and squeeze in that social time I mentioned above to help prevent total insanity. And, oh, we still have to be writing. Don’t forget writing, all you hopeful writers out there. Or hopeful editors, proofreaders, professionals of any sort. Writing can boost just about any career because it can put your name out there in great ways.

I don’t have the answer for how to squeeze in reading. Most of the time these last two years my main reading sources were short news articles or listicles or something that could easily be squeezed into 15 or fewer minutes a day. I’m hoping that these varying experiments of mine will yield some results. If they do, I will write a part 2 sharing them with you. But in the meantime you should try experimenting too. Read a chapter a day. Pick up an old classic you loved and re-read it. Pick up a new book you’ve been dying to try. Definitely spend some time going through Goodreads and making a list for yourself of everything that sounds interesting. Even if it’s a book written for a different age group. I personally really want to read the How to Train Your Dragon books one to see how truly different they are from the movies and two to see first hand if they’re something my nieces and nephews might enjoy.

Enjoy yourself. Reading is supposed to be a good thing for enjoyment, not a chore.

Rambles

So I saw Spiderman!

So everyone’s of course talking about the latest greatest Marvel movie. Ah so many great videos that I haven’t been able to watch because oh boy are there some interesting things that I could spoil you on if you haven’t already run into them. The obligatory twist in the third act even managed to surprise my roommate, and he’s watched so much TV and so many movies that he knows every cliche set up no matter how anyone tries to disguise it.

First, in case you missed it or want to see it again, here’s the trailer to hype you up:

I may talk in spoilers. Just…a warning. I’ll try very hard to omit anything vital but if you don’t want anything at all ruined for you then, well, you probably aren’t reading this because you’ve probably avoided the trailers (which are always fair game discussion in these sorts of things) because you already know trailers always betray most of the most important parts of the movie anyway.

Let’s just start here: Tom Holland is Spider-Man. He’s perfect. I don’t know what he’s like in real life since I’ve never hung out with the guy, but his performance was equal parts dorky, innocent, hopeful, excitable…He’s a regular teenager. There’s still the trademarks – he’s unpopular, smart, on the ‘outskirts’ of the social sphere. Outskirts less in the sense of the cliques as defined by Mean Girls and more in the actual social sense of it. He’s dorky, but only one cheerleader ever seemed to have a problem with that. There was a guy who picked on him but that guy wasn’t really not dorky himself. Then there’s the popular girl Peter had a crush on who is both super popular and dreaming of winning the Academic Decathlon. Which was a great juxtaposition to what was going on in Peter’s life – while her biggest goal and idea for what constituted a secure future was winning a competition in high school. For most people that’s completely accurate, but put up along side Peter’s problems it seems so stupidly small.

I don’t know what high school was like in the 90s, which Mean Girls and all the others that came after it were raised on, but I do know for sure what High School was like around 2010. This is much more accurate. People are multi-dimensional, have lots of interests, and the rich kids tend to be the ones that get the most attention, but they aren’t all assholes. Or being a jerk isn’t their only trait. So, yeah, teenagers being humans was refreshing.

I also liked Tony. I definitely saw reviews where people lamented the excessive use of Iron Man but I thought that was a pretty good way of working it in. Or maybe I just like seeing Tony Stark act like a dad. I do love a good dad-like character (Stoick’s relationship with Hiccup is half the reason I watch How to Train Your Dragon at least once a year). He’s such a great mentor and it really builds on his arc over the previous movies.

Could they have made better use of him? Yeahh, they could have. He was also fully responsible for the second act conflict. Not to spoil anything but if he had literally just revealed slightly more information then the problem would have been mostly solved. The bad guys might still have gotten desperate enough to go for what became the grand finale and if Peter had known more in the second act then he might not have been there for the final act, but just as a person to person thing I had to stop myself from scolding Mr. Stark in the theater.

Yeah, I talk to movies. I try not to do it in the theater but at home I see nothing wrong with yelling at a stupid character for doing something stupid. Or a smart character for doing something kinda dumb. But also I can forgive Tony because that’s who he is in all the other movies he pops up in. Still. Some common sense there buddy. You’re talking to an overzealous teenager. ‘No’ is only going to make him want it more.

(And want it more he totally did. But you can see what came of that just by watching the trailer.)

Other things I’ve seen people take umbrage with:

  • No spidey sense. Yeah, ok. Real spiders don’t have any super sense like that either. It’s a classic trait sure but it wasn’t really missed. Although your mileage on this one may vary depending on how make-or-break it that is for you. (And how much you like his high-tech Stark Industries spider suite.)
  • Young Aunt May. Like, hot young Aunt May. I do love my sweet grandma Aunt May but from what I can tell her age has actually usually varied. She does seem more of an older sister/friend for Peter than a guardian at times, but when she’s being a guardian she’s a great one.
  • A certain character’s skin color just because of her skin color. No, not the love interest. Those comments are just racist. Yes she’s usually white. So what. Plenty of not usually white characters were turned white for movies. The ‘strongest’ argument I’ve heard has been the ‘they just did it for the shock value’ and…that’s not a strong argument. That’s a stupid argument.
  • That same certain character’s personality/actress. Now this I can understand better. My roommate doesn’t like the actress’ acting. K. The personality – yeah I can get that bugging people too. I liked her because she reminded me of someone I knew in high school. Like, to a T. Yeah the character direction they went in is just as over done as the damsel in distress was before. But she played it in a way that wasn’t as forced as it usually is. Then there’s also how she’s nothing like the pre-established character in any way, and if you like that character then yeah, that’s a very valid reason not to be excited. For me, it’s not really important. A name is a name. I like this girl. I want to see what happens with her.
  • These movies are becoming like the comic books – you have to see all of them to get any of them individually. Seeing at least all the main Iron Man movies + Civil War will help you with Tony, but this isn’t Tony’s story. Everything that’s pertinent to Peter’s story gets recapped for you. Though I definitely think it was better for me because I’ve seen Civil War and all of Tony’s development throughout that. Oh, they do name drop the Avengers. Know who they are, I guess?
  • No Spider-Man origin story. Do we really need that again?
  • Peter loses a lot. Yeah. He’s fifteen. Fifteen year olds in general are at a disadvantage due to lack of life experience. He’s also new to super hero-ing. All the superheroes made mistakes when they first gave it a shot. And he’s just a kid.

A lot of reviews have been calling this the best Spider-Man movie yet. Yeah. I can agree with that. The writing is solid, the acting is solid, the casting is perfect, the character arcs were amazing. I already said this was the best Peter Parker we’ve had in movie form. The villains were deep and had multi-dimensions. They had a twist at the end that even managed to surprise my roommate. Nothing surprises my roommate. He almost always calls all twists or character arcs or what’s about to happen well in advance just because he’s so well versed in TV and movies. Of course, there are reasons he didn’t guess at the twist that are deeply rooted problems in American culture. But it still surprised him.

It wasn’t what I wanted though. I will say it was the best in all ways, I just…maybe it’s just me right now, and if I re-watch it at another time I’ll like it more. Through the first half of this movie, though, all I really wanted was to watch the super goofy 2002 movie again. I will not say that movie is better in any way, but right now that’s more the kind of movie I want to see. That does not mean this isn’t the greatest one. Just with everything going on in the world I kind of really want to see Spider-Man beat down on a stupid rich guy who’s only in it for the riches. This villain wasn’t in it just for the riches – he was in it because he felt beaten down by society and the government and like the superheroes weren’t actually out to save average people like him but also to take care of his family and give them a great life.

So maybe if I re-watch this movie at a different time I’ll be able to appreciate it more, but I can say I am kind of grateful we have the other ones too. Just in case we’re looking for a different kind of Spider-Man movie. Well, except for Spider-Man 3. That movie’s just total crap. Stupid emo Peter.

Actually I’m probably just going to watch How to Train Your Dragon now. Thanks a lot Tony Father-Figure Stark.

 

Oh, and I swear if there was one thing I took away from this movie it was that I would hate hate hate to buy car insurance there. They have got to have superhero damage insurance or something. So many cars were completely destroyed or otherwise lost to the ocean. Nooooo thank you. I can barely afford the part of a car I’m paying for now. Of course I have heard that owning a car in New York is a sign of richness? I always hear about how most people don’t have cars because it’s a complete waste of money. So maybe the average person that Peter accidentally screwed over is just normally rich enough for it to not be a big deal. Or maybe Tony had the cars salvaged and fixed, who knows.

Rambles

Finally! The MLP Movie Trailer is out!

So this dropped recently:

I admit, I, like many, have been feeling a bit less enthused about the amazing cartoon about toys that could lately. I’m still keeping an eye on it but I’m not as excited as I was, say, even just last year at this time. This season hasn’t been bad, necessarily, it just seems like it’s been 20% less interesting than it used to be. I don’t know if its me or them (ok I’m pretty sure it’s mostly them because I still really enjoy earlier seasons). And I know, I know, it’s a show for little girls. But I also saw someone point out that the little girls this show was first written for are driving cars now. Yeah, this show has been around that long at this point.

‘Bout time we got a movie!

An actual movie. Not Equestria Girls. Those are cute, but they’re you’re typical made-for-a-tv-show movie. No no no, this movie is different. It’s big. It’s flashy. They completely changed the animation from the show for it.

The characters are still recognizable, sure, but they’re definitely a lot rounder. Not in the ‘they put on some weight’ way but they just aren’t as angular as they can be in the tv show. Their motions are so much smoother and their expressions are so much bigger and yet also far more subtle at the same time. You can easily spot traditional animation rules as you watch the trailer, like the over-exaggerated head turn one pony does right before the bad guys pop in. I’m sure they do it in the show plenty, but it was just so obvious that I actually noticed it in the trailer. I’m horrible at noticing things guys. Absolutely terrible. Watching tv shows is always a surprise even when the plots are coming miles away. (Sorry, I might be a little bit jaded that my roommate kept calling Steven Universe twists episodes before they happened. Without having looked them up. There was only one he didn’t guess and that was just because he didn’t think the show would go there because it was a cartoon.)

If you go back to my first post, you’ll see that one of the things I love is beautiful animation. It’s moving, inspiring art for me. I don’t care if it’s ‘for little kids’ – I deeply appreciate a beautifully animated movie. This trailer made me realize something else though. I’ve been missing something in this new trend. It’s something that I’d forgotten I was missing too.

3D animation is amazing, sure, but it can’t offer the same things is gorgeous 2D animation. There’s something in 2D that just can’t be replicated, and it’s something that I’ve been missing in the immense dry spell we’ve had since The Princess and the Frog. Yes, the Let it Go animation sequence made me gasp at the beauty, Hiccup and Toothless’s first flight together almost gave me those roller-coaster butterflies from how lovely they were, and of course I have previously mentioned how Judy’s arrival in Zootopia is completely awe-inspiring every time I re-watch it (though I’d love to see it on a giant screen again because omg it just feels so huge on the big screen). I think Tangled, though, was the closest to capturing that 2D…thing. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but it’s something special. And this movie looks like it’s going to have it.

And I have conflicted feelings about that fact. I already mentioned that they don’t look the same. It’s not that they look bad, but they look different enough from their show counterparts that the first thought I had after the trailer was ‘oh, that was bizarre.’ It’s kind of like the new voice cast for the new Duck Tales show. Yeah, they’re great. It’s just jarring to see (or, in the case of Duck Tales, hear – those ‘boys’ sound like teenagers at least!). Basically, it’s not going to be a deal breaker. Like I said, what is shown in the trailer is simply beautiful. It’s just different. Which takes a moment to adjust to.

The story looks a bit standard – someone wants to take over their kingdom, its up to our scrappy heroes to stop them. It also just so happens that one of our heroes this time is one of the rulers of this land fighting to take back her country for her people (and the other three rulers are, as usual, not in the hero’s party which means they probably got captured…again…which doesn’t personally bother me but I foresee a fair few more jokes about Princess Celestia failing to be a goddess in our future if this is the case). Not sure how the merponies and the merpony-ification of the mane six are going to fit in, but they got Kristen Glinda-the-Super-Singer Chenowith to voice the underwater princess so I almost don’t care. Apparently there’s an important giant windmill. Oh, and lots of hugs. Hugs are important as they are the backbone of most friendships. (Disclaimer: If your friend is a hands off sort of friend then hugs might not be as important; actually, in that case the absence of hugs might be more important.)

I also just realized that we see both the merponies and some interaction with the pirate, but the kitty cat I’ve been most excited for only shows up in some background shots. The Sia pony (I know, she has a name, but I’m gonna struggle to remember that when she’s literally pony Sia) even got some interaction time. Still, they did cram a lot into this trailer, the more I rewatch it. Some things had to be cut both for time and secrecy. Who wants to see a movie that they’ve already seen via trailer?

Oh wait we totally do that all the time with our movies and show the final plot twist right in the trailers…Hopefully the final twist wasn’t in this trailer. If there is a final twist. Honestly I also rather miss straightforward stories that don’t necessarily have final plot twists. Everyone does twists these days, so it’d be more original not to twist it up.

Honestly, all in all it looks like it’s gonna be great. It might not be the best movie ever made, but it really looks like it’s most likely going to be a fun adventure that will stick with kids. For adults, I predict something similar to the show – it’s going to bring joy. I mean, that’s why I watch the show. So I can see something happy. Something bright and cheerful with a guaranteed happy ending. Goodness knows there’s enough darkness in the world right now we could all use some sunshine.